Researchers at the University of Southern California, led by Professor Chongwu Zhou, replaced graphite with porous silicon nanoparticles in anodes of lithium-ion batteries to come up with a new design. The battery, which could be available in two to three years, has a longer life and charges more quickly than lithium-ion batteries used now. (Source: Mingyuan Ge & Chongwu Zhou/USC)
There is a lot of innovation happening in the battery space at the moment and, in my opinion, it couldn't come at a better time. If you think about it, while so much other technology has evolved in leaps and bounds, batteries historically have been very slow to evolve yet we are still quite dependent on them to power all of our gadgets and devices. The idea of a longer-lasting battery that can recharge so quickly is a welcome innovation in this space.
I'm confused. Although the title says that a longer-lasting battery was invented, the story says "Another weakness in the design is that the battery's lifespan isn't as long as traditional graphite-based design".
Yes, you're right, TJ...tricky wording there...It depends on what you mean as longer lasting. The battery will run out more quickly but it will continue to be charged and recharged longer, and apparently they are working on the design so it will eventually be longer lasting in both respects. Sorry for the confusion...I should have worded it more clearly.
Thanks for posting this: potentially really good news. And yes, it's helpful to use two different terms for total lifespan and length of charge. In cell phone batteries, the latter is called "talk time."
Nice story, Liz. Let's hope this technology reaches its potential. Material scientists have tried many lithium-ion chemistries over the past 20 years and short cycle life has often been a problem. Lithium-sulfur, for example, has offered high energy but has had problems getting past about 50 cycles. Most automakers are looking for a minimum of a thousand cycles. Some are looking for 2,000 because they want some margin for warranties. Let's hope these engineers can do it.
Yes, it would be great if they could overcome what you note is a long-time hurdle. This would be a great invention, particularly for the future of electric vehicles and could overcome any remaining hurdles to adoption. It's good to know at least that some very clever people are looking at the problem in new ways.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
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